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RightNation.US: Civil Rights May Be Bad For Your Health - RightNation.US

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During the initial Democratic afterglow following the House passage of Obamacare, Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina repeated the fallacious progressive claim that healthcare is a fundamental human right.

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I said earlier, during my talk on the floor, that I consider this to be the Civil Rights Act of the 21st century – because I do believe that this is the one fundamental right that this country had been wrestling with now for almost a hundred years. I think tonight, we took a giant step toward the establishment of a more perfect union.


Clyburn’s equating a healthcare entitlement to the civil rights established in 1964 is deeply insulting. To understand why, one must consider how the adjective “civil” affects the noun “right,” and the function civil rights play in a just society. The term “civil rights” has become interchangeable, in the public discourse, with the term “inalienable rights.” These distinct concepts have become so convoluted, even popular internet references group them together. Consider the contradiction in Wikipedia’s article on “civil and political rights:”

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In many countries, [civil rights] are constitutional rights and are included in a bill of rights or similar document. They are also defined in international human rights instruments, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Civil and political rights need not be codified to be protected, although most democracies worldwide do have formal written guarantees of civil and political rights. Civil rights are often considered to be natural rights. Thomas Jefferson wrote in his 1774 A Summary View of the Rights of British America that “a free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.”


The first paragraph indicates civil rights are the product of government, which grants them through codification. The second states civil rights are not the product of government, but derived from the laws of nature. These claims cannot be simultaneously true, not if their object is the same.

In fact, they reference two different objects. Civil rights are granted by government. Inalienable rights are not.

As an example, consider the right to vote. Voting is a civil right, a product of government. One is not born with the inalienable right to cast a vote in an election. Elections and votes, and the entire process surrounding them, only come into existence as a result of government, which defines the eligibility requirements for voter registration. Citizenship is likewise a civil right which would not exist without a state to be a citizen of.

Inalienable rights are another matter altogether. There is no state-run rights depository from which one must obtain their ration of life, liberty, and an unhindered capacity to pursue happiness. These are characteristics intrinsic to the individual, a product of our nature, not any state.

What, then, is the proper relationship between the two? Why was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 entirely appropriate, the establishment of Obamacare inappropriate, and the equating of the two offensive? Civil rights are appropriate only to the extent they bolster and do no damage to inalienable rights. Blacks in much of America were routinely denied their inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In many cases, there was no recourse for justice, as rampantly racist communities produced judges, juries, and enforcers and crafters of law intent on maintaining a state of injustice. The inability of many to effectively self-govern, which is to say restrain themselves from violating the rights of others, brought upon them the external governance of the Civil Rights Act. Civil rights were crafted to secure inalienable rights. Though the positive effect was most apparent among blacks, the application was universal. The civil rights created at that time affected equal treatment under the law.

Compare that to something like a healthcare entitlement. When you grant an individual a “civil right” to a product or service which must be produced by another individual, the application of that right requires imposition upon the producer. The inalienable right of the producer to liberty, the capacity to act upon his own judgment, is adversely effected. Such a “right” is not a universal protection. It is redistributive thuggery.

This is why Clyburn’s comparison is deeply offensive. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 acted to bolster the inalienable rights of all citizens. It was an affirmative action in the true sense of the phrase, affirming the Jeffersonian political philosophy upon which our nation was founded. The passage of Obamacare is fundamentally opposite. Obamacare degrades liberty, impedes the pursuit of happiness, and may ultimately affect the capacity of many to freely act upon their own judgment toward the sustenance of their life.

Unfortunately, Clyburn’s inability to recognize this truth does not make him unique. It does, however, make him the “useful idiot” of his progressive masters. The argument an individual is entitled to healthcare is fundamentally no different than the argument a plantation owner is entitled to have his field worked. Both premises require one individual to produce for another. Both justify slavery. In their support of government-run healthcare, Obama and Clyburn have acted to impose that dreadful condition, not upon a single race, but the entire nation.
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